Photo: City of Helsinki / Aleksi Poutanen

Helsinki to be the most functional city in the world

Mayor Jan Vapaavuori presented his proposal concerning the new Helsinki City Strategy 2017–2021. The City Council approved the City Strategy “The most functional city in the world” on 27 September.

Read the entire strategy

The vision of the strategy is to make Helsinki the most functional city in the world. "The vision speaks to every city resident, to the trade and industry, as well as to everyone who visits our city. Day by day, Helsinki has to be a better city for all of us", says Vapaavuori.

Due to the reform of Helsinki's governance system, the strategy has now been prepared in an entirely new way, which is also reflected in the shape of the strategy. In comparison to the previous council strategies, the new strategy is considerably more concise, vision-based and focused on the cooperation between administrative branches. "A true change of the organisational culture requires that each City employee perceives and takes in the contents of the strategy", says Vapaavuori.

"This strategy sets out ambitious and clear objectives for what we want to be. We have to work every day to be an increasingly international, service-oriented and attractive City", emphasises Vapaavuori.

Helsinki is the sole metropolis in Finland and that brings along good things, but there are big challenges as well. The strategy is still very humane. "Helsinki is primarily a place and a community, not a bureaucracy. I believe that the City cannot solve the big challenges - nor is it even sensible to do so - on its own, but instead we need strategic partnerships with everyone who is interested in developing Helsinki", says Vapaavuori.

The City Strategy is divided into five key points:

1) The most functional city in the world  
• A living and captivatingly original city
• A faster and more agile organisational culture through a controlled rhythm change
2) Securing sustainable growth the most essential task of the city    
• We support every young person and prevent social exclusion   
• An international, living and captivating Helsinki of events
3) Developing services   
• Helsinki is the world's most impactful place for learning   
• A moving and healthy City for all   
•´Living, distinctive and safe neighbourhoods  
• Modern climate responsibility
4) Responsible management of finances the foundation of a prosperous city 
5) Helsinki strengthens and diversifies its promotion of interests

The strategy proposal defines, among other things, the following objectives for Helsinki:

• to resolutely fight segregation and social exclusion;
• to be among Europe's most intriguing locations for innovative start-up activities and to be Finland's best city for enterprises;
• to be a carbon neutral city by the year 2035;
• to gradually promote free-of-charge early childhood education;
• to double the number of places for education and early childhood education in English;
• to promote the mobility of the citizens;
• to be the world's best city in utilising digitalisation.

The City's economy is run responsibly, sustainably and profitably to make sure that the City's services can be secured in the long term and that the City is a competitive location for companies. Helsinki's debt per resident will not be allowed to rise, the investments required by the growing city will be covered with internal financing during the strategy period. The intensification of the functions, made possible by the organisational reform, is made use of by using the annual 0.5 % increase in the total productivity to cover part of the increasing operating expenses caused by the growing population.

In the strategy, there is also a proposal concerning a real estate strategy for the City, which includes a plan for the repair or replacement of school, day-care or playground buildings that suffer from indoor air pollution.

A marine strategy is established to improve the accessibility of the City's seaside locations and the services in the archipelago, as well as to promote marine events.

There will also be a scheduled operational programme for the implementation of the emissions reduction goals set in the strategy programme.

City Council meeting September 27   

Municipal strategy

According to the new Local Government Act, the municipality must have a municipal strategy in which the local council determines the long-term objectives for the municipality’s activities and finances. The municipal strategy must take into account the advancement of the well-being of the municipality’s residents, the arrangement and provision of services, the service objectives laid down in acts on the functions of municipalities, ownership policy, personnel policy, opportunities for the residents of the municipality to participate and exert an influence, development of the living environment and vitality of the area. The municipal strategy must also define the process of assessment and monitoring of the strategy’s implementation. In the administrative regulations of the City of Helsinki, the municipal strategy is called City Strategy.

Published 24 August, updated 5, 14, 20, 27, 28 September and 5 October.